Peeled, sliced tomatoes and fingerling potatoes with aïoli for our TGIF lunch today. (Oh, that’s right. It’s only Thursday!) This luscious mayonnaise is so good, if you slathered it on cardboard you’d be begging for seconds. Now is the moment to eat vegetables; we sure are and we’re loving them.

 

Some people might call today, Wednesday, hump day. We’re calling it wedgeday in honor of the baby romaine lettuce we had for lunch with blue cheese dressing, lots of chopped bacon, and a drizzle of good olive oil. Iceberg lettuce sure makes a fine wedge salad, but these beautiful, tight little heads of romaine have more than crunch. They’ve got flavor!

 

“Food is your best medicine”—as Dr. Henry Beiler wrote over fifty years ago—and today’s lunch sure proves that. We ate: lentils with raw spring onions, roasted beets sweet as sugar, yogurt with cumin and coriander, sliced summer tomatoes, and boiled eggs all anointed with a sharp mustardy vinaigrette. No afternoon nap for us. We’re raring to go.

 

The scene was pure Norman Rockwell at Trauger’s Farm Market this morning. A young boy, maybe six years old, had set up his lemonade stand just to the right of the doors. Being entrepreneurs ourselves (and understanding what it takes to get something going), we asked the price of two glasses of lemonade.  ”Oh”, he said,” you’ll have to ask my grandmother. She’s inside.” We spied his towheaded siblings out back helping sort corn. What a way to grow up, visiting your grandparents’ farm midsummer. It’s a dream of continuity, of simplicity, of something true, of  a life based on something real and meaningful.

We bought purple spring onions, a big just-picked bunch of rainbow chard, yellow and bi-colored corn, some purple string beans, and a dozen fresh eggs. We came to the studio and made this delicate chard frittata for lunch. And by the way, the lemonade was 50¢ a glass—a fair and honest price, just like everything else in that market. It was a perfect way to start the week.

 

A package from California arrived at Canal House today. Before we looked at the sender’s name and address we recognized the heft and bulge of the box—avocados from Ventura, California. A few times a year our friends, the Orr’s, ship us a stash of fruit plucked from the trees in their orchard. These avocados belong in the Avocado Hall of Fame with rich, nutty flavor and creamy, dense flesh. Also tucked into the box were two jars of their homemade boysenberry jam—and everyone knows there ‘s not a better berry in the world. So we stopped what we were doing and made a pile of toast to slather with butter and jam or mashed avocados with olive oil. This was the finest way to end our work week—feet up on the windowsill, watching the rain through the screens, munching toast. TGIF. Cook something delicious for yourselves, dear friends.

 

On this hot, muggy day we are working in the splendor of air conditioning. So much so, that instead of a cold summer salad (a more appropriate lunch), we are feasting on duck legs braised with shiitake mushrooms and purple spring onions. We considered pouring ourselves glasses of 2007 Liber Pater Bordeaux, but instead went with good old Frenchtown tap water with a couple of ice cubes. We have to cut back somewhere!

 

Happy corn-on-the-cob season. We like bi-colored ears, boiled, with salted butter, and the crunch of a little more salt. CH eats her corn off the cob going round and round. MH eats hers typewriter style. How about you? We’ll be talking corn recipes and spinning tunes on our weekly radio show, “The Canal House Kitchen Hour” on wdvrfm.org from 4:00 to 5:00 pm EDT. Tune in, if you get a chance. See you on the radio!

 

Our week started off beautifully with lunch with Cathy Barrow (www.cathybarrow.com). We drove up the river to Trauger’s Farm Market (www.traugers.com) early this morning and found bins of bi-color “Temptation” corn, delicate green and yellow beans, and two colors of zucs—everything we needed for our first summer succotash. We nestled a roasted chicken, along with all its juices, on top of the vegetables. The garden giveth.

 

Today lunch was salmon bathed in lemon butter sauce with braised scallions and little boiled potatoes. Kinda fancy but very simple to make. The sauce makes anything taste luxurious. Here’s how you make it—Whisk 2 egg yolks and 1 tablespoon of water together in a small heavy saucepan over very low heat (you don’t want the eggs to scramble!). Whisk in 1 tablespoon of cold butter until it has melted into the sauce, and continue this way until you have whisked in a total of 8 tablespoons butter. The sauce will have thickened nicely. (If it separates, remove the pan from the heat and whisk in another piece of cold butter to cool the sauce down. It should come back together.) Remove from the heat and add the juice of half a lemon. Season with salt and a pinch of cayenne.

 

Now that we’re on the other side of July 4th, we are in full-on summer cooking mode, which means daily stops at the farm markets and roadside stands, and cooking with a light touch—letting the fruits and vegetable shine on their own. One of our summer habits is to keep a pitcher of cold soup in the fridge. It’s nice to have something to rely on when it’s too hot to cook or we’re simply too busy doing nothing in the shade. This morning, we made a cauliflower vichyssoise. By lunch we were eating big bowls of the chilled soup garnished with dollops of whipped sour cream flecked with chopped chives. We won’t be hanging out under a tree this afternoon. Instead, we’ll be talking cold soup recipes and spinning tunes on our weekly radio show, “The Canal House Kitchen Hour” on wdvrfm.org from 4:00 to 5:00 pm EDT. Tune in, if you get a chance. See you on the radio!